Those with a social services organization in Great Falls say they're prepared to receive crisis calls around tragedies involving gun violence.
Voices of Hope Director Jackie Gittins says they’ve taken calls from people experiencing anxiety and depression. She added they want to know why events like mass shootings happen.
It could be someone who has witnessed or experienced gun violence or a combination of every day stresses that result in trauma.
She also says misconceptions around mental health and gun violence can hurt to those who are struggling.
Just because someone has a mental illness, does not make them capable of gun violence, according to Gittins.
"That just because you have a mental illness, that you need to look a certain way and you need to act a certain way and that this is possibly something you might do- that's really on the far-fetched side of things,” she said. “Does it happen? Sure. But I can guarantee there are other factors that have contributed to their thoughts.”
Gittins says one in five people in the U.S. struggles with mental illness and that reaching out during times of crisis and talking through their feelings is key.
Voices of Hope has statewide and national suicide and crisis prevention hotlines. They can be reached at (406) 453-4357 or at their 24-hour Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK.
The Center For Mental Health in Great Falls accepts walk-ins and appointments for those in crisis. They can be reached at (406) 761-2100. The Center’s Chief Executive Sydney Blair says clinicians are on call to respond 24-7.
Alluvion Health is also available to help. They do not have a crisis line, however, you can call 454-6973 and ask for a care coordinator or on call behavioral health consultant.